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Why this petition matters

Started by Star Womack

We are the 10th graders of the Next Gen and we want The University of Pennsylvania to pay PILOTs.

PILOTs stands for payments in lieu of taxes, which is when a tax-exempt organization pays money to the government. So to put it in a simple way, it means a non-profit helps fund the community and city that supports it.

It's important that Penn pays PILOTs because this money could go to our underfunded schools. Our schools are under-resourced, have suffered during the pandemic, and some have even closed.  Money from Penn could help us secure more opportunities and build stronger school communities.

Penn affects a lot of things within the city, especially gentrification. Penn selectively puts money into schools like Penn Alexander ($1,330 per student) and Lea, but what about the rest of our schools?  When universities only fund certain schools, rent goes up in those neighborhoods, gentrification increases, and there is even more educational inequality across the city.

Penn's current endowment is over 20 billion and we would want Penn to pay 36 million per year.  Instead of Penn putting money into Penn Alexander they should put money into other schools like our school The Workshop School. We have a field next door and we would love for that to become our gym because our school is so small. We also don't have chemistry and language classes due to lack of staff and equipment.

As students who are affected by school funding and housing insecurity in our city, we demand:

(1) Stop the demolition of the University City Townhomes and preserve this as affordable housing for the current residents

(2) The University of Pennsylvania pays PILOTs, generating an estimated $36.4 million to go to ALL our city’s public schools annually

(3) Use this additional revenue to give more support to underfunded public schools, especially those with majority-Black students, including:

  • More social workers and counselors to help students with problems
  • Supportive professionals who are trained in mental health needs, childhood development, and restorative justice in place of security and police
  • More teachers to allow for smaller class sizes and deeper specialization in the subjects they teach
  • Safe, healthy, and (if necessary) new school buildings with more space, including a new building for The Workshop School
  • Better technology and access to home wifi for students
  • More opportunities for hands-on science, math, English, foreign languages, sexual health education, after school clubs, and other learning enrichment activities
  • Better school breakfast and lunch programs – remember that some of our students do not always get adequate meals at home

(4) Fund homeless shelters, support rent control, affordable housing, job opportunities, mental health treatment, educational opportunities, healthcare for all, domestic violence shelters, and other programs that address root causes of housing insecurity

(5) Decriminalize homelessness and reduce mass incarceration

50 have signed. Let’s get to 100!